Live shows have been a primary draw for Branson tourism, but today the lake community offers much more in entertainment value. As president and CEO of the Branson/Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce & Convention and Visitors Bureau, it’s Jeff Seifried’s job to advocate for community businesses and ensure that rebranding messages reach – and attract – new visitors and investors.
“Our primary goals is to grow visitation to Branson and grow tax receipts in the market,” he says. “The stronger the economy is and the more it’s growing, the more successful the residents are and more successful businesses are.”
Seifried is no stranger to community advocacy. Before joining the Branson/Lakes Area chamber and CVB in 2015, he worked for the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce and served as a member of the Springfield City Council. Today, he stays involved with a variety of regional boards and committees that work to promote tourism and economic growth.
In Branson, Seifried and his team have nurtured growth in the number of visitors to nearly 9 million, a record in 2018. The organization’s goals for 2020 and beyond are threefold: to tell Branson’s story, to be the voice of business and to support economic growth.
His team measures success in two ways: The steadily growing sales tax receipts and the booming number of investors who are either constructing new projects or have identified projects they’re serious about pursuing. Early in 2019, they identified projects in the pipeline that could total nearly $1 billion, Seifried says.
Attracting new visitors is key to economic growth in the community that relies on the tourism industry. For 2018, the general sales tax was $11,603,032 and the city tourism tax was at $13,578,693, both all-time highs for Branson, Seifried says. While country music and live shows remain a primary driver, Seifried’s team works to expand perceptions by promoting other local assets, such as outdoor recreation, established attractions like Silver Dollar City and new family entertainment venues.
Healthy tourism attracts investment, Seifried says, citing the $50 million Aquarium at the Boardwalk under construction. Going in nearby is WonderWorks, a hands-on entertainment center for families.
“Then just to the south, you get Tiger Woods and Johnny Morris building a brand-new golf course,” Seifried adds. “New businesses are investing in Branson, and our current business owners are reinvesting in themselves. That is the sign of a healthy market and healthy community.”
Whataburger launched its second local store; Branson shop Revive Juice and Coffee Bar LLC moved; and a new Monett branch of the Barry-Lawrence Regional Library District opened.